Maine DHHS Opens the Data Black Box

Maine DHHS Opens the Data Black Box

October 27, 2010 Posted by Tarren Bragdon - 4 Comments

Maine DHHS Data Yesterday, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced that they are opening the black box and making data available and accessible to the public through a new dashboard.  Finally!

Even the Portland Press Herald reporter John Richardson has written about how DHHS refuses to supply basic program or spending information.

This DHHS Dashboard is a good first step, but true transparency and accountability requires DHHS to go much farther, similar to our FixWelfare.com and MaineOpenGov.org sites.  Most of the DHHS Dashboard data only goes back to 2006 and there is little on actual program outcomes – are people getting healthier, safer and/or moving from welfare to work?

As we noted in our Fix the System welfare report, DHHS seems so focused on tracking process and money spent and much interested in the results of all that spending.

It would be similar to my telling you how much I spent in Weight Watcher fees and how many weeks I had been enrolled in the program.  That’s great; but isn’t the real test of success how much weight I lost and whether I kept it off?

Let’s hope the next governor gets this distinction.  We all want good government.  Good government is government that is achieving (and reporting) its goals.

And don’t worry Brenda Harvey, unlike you, I don’t think that your release of this data a week before Election Day is “politically motivated.”